The Buffalo News put together a roundup of common scams that scoundrels are using to swipe your money and includes advice on how to avoid them.
Reporter Samantha Maziarz Christmann identifies one particularly nefarious ruse involving adorable puppies:
Also known as the Cameroon pet scam, this one preys on animal lovers with soft hearts. The scammer posts an ad online for a purebred puppy, free to a good home. Often claiming to be a missionary in Africa, the scammer says they are unable to care for their pet overseas and wants to assure she is taken in by a loving owner. All you have to do is wire the money (it’s almost always wired or a money order) to ship the pup to her new home. The advertised breeds are often expensive ones that are hard to get your hands on, such as English bulldogs and Yorkshire terriers.
Once you wire the money, you might be solicited for more funds to “cover unforeseen expenses,” such as customs charges or necessary vaccines. Either way, you’ll never see your puppy – or your cash.
Christmann’s advice: “Do business only with people you can research and do business with in person. If you want a purebred dog, contact a reliable breeder.”
Sadly, the article goes on to deflate my dreams of making millions by wiring some good-faith money to Nigerian princes. Surely my good pal the Honorable Dr. Jason Biggs, Phd, ESQ is on the level though.